How good are you at talking off the top of your head?
Toastmasters International calls it Table Topics. Speech and debate teams call it extemporaneous speaking. I call it terrifying! I know it seems improbable but I have to work hard at casual conversation.
Since I speak frequently to groups of all sizes on a variety of topics, I constantly strive to become a stronger, more interesting speaker. My occasional lack of skill at casual conversation can stand in my way of appearing relaxed and comfortable. I think that can undermine my credibility so this is important to me.
What if there was another way? Recently I attended a wonderful class through VoicePro® to help me become a better speaker. I came away with a format for talking off the top of my head that I really like. With Voice Pro® permission, I would like to share this idea with you!
The idea is PREPO™ which stands for Point, Reason (just one reason even if there could be several), Evidence (3 points of evidence that support your point), Point (restate the point) and outcome (the call to action, what you want the listener to do with this information).
This simple format requires practice, out loud, to get your brain to think in this orderly fashion. I had to practice several times until I got the idea.
Let me demonstrate with a little self-serving example.
(Point) Some people need help organizing their job search.
(Reason) Otherwise their job search could go on longer than it needs to.
(Evidence) Job search has changed over the last few years. A coach can teach you quickly what it might take a long time to learn on your own. A coach can share ideas on how to use social media for networking that might take a while to figure out on your own.
(Point) It is pretty clear that some people need a coach to help organize their job search.
(Outcome) So call The Interview Doctor. We would love to help you organize your job search!
I bet I could talk about The Interview Doctor pretty easily but even with a topic I am totally familiar with, PREPO helps me avoid rambling and get to the point quickly. It even helps add a desired outcome so people can take action on the information I provide.
The trick is practice. You can seek out a Toastmasters club to practice PREPO at Table Topics or just practice out loud at home with your “Tell me about yourself” or a networking topic. Then try it out the next time you go to a networking event to see if you can speak more clearly and confidently.
If you want more detailed information on improving the way you speak, please contact VoicePro.
How could you use PREPO to be more comfortable at networking meetings? Please share your ideas with the rest of us so we can all grow!